were injured Thursday night and taken to WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh after the
Vortex ride malfunctioned at the North Carolina State Fair.
County Sheriff's Office and the NC Department of Labor are leading the
Sheriff Donnie Harrison and the State Fair said preliminary reports indicate
the ride had stopped and people were offloading when it suddenly restarted.
Wake County Sheriff said that workers were asked to inspect a switch on The
Vortex just three days before the accident. The ride was cleared to reopen.
Secretary Cherie Berry said her agency spent two and half weeks inspecting the
rides at the fair to make sure they are safe.
The five who
were injured were between the ages of 14 and 39. Two of the five were released
overnight. The three remaining victims, two who were seriously injured, have
asked that their names and updates about their conditions not be released. Thursday
night, officials said one of the injured was a ride operator.
told WBTV that she was on the ride with her boyfriend just before the accident
were on the ride right before it happened. And it was ride that kinda spun
around and it went upside down briefly. And we were strapped in fine, but I
guess the ones after us weren't strapped in properly," she said.
although she didn't see the accident occur, her friend heard the noise.
didn't see them fly out, but one of my friends heard them hit part of the metal
on the ride or hit something, so I guess they weren't strapped in properly and
they flew out of the ride."
spokesperson for the Department of Labor said during the press conference that
all rides at the fair are to be inspected three times a day. She said that was
one of the things investigators would be looking into as they try to figure out
she feels blessed she was not on the ride at the time, but is hopeful that
those injured are okay.
can't even imagine that happened. I just hope that they're okay. That's all I
The ride was
manufactured by Technical Park International of Italy, according to a release
from the NC State Fair. This is the first time this Vortex ride has been at the
fair. The other Vortex ride is located on the new midway and has been on site
for several years. Officials say it is a different style of ride.
"This is a
situation that we never want to have at the fairgrounds. Any ride accident is
tragic and our thoughts and prayers are with the families," Agriculture Commissioner
Steve Troxler said. "Safety is something that we take very seriously and so
this accident has shaken us all deeply."